(Contrary to the suggestion proposed by my daughter, Wendy, I will not be making the accompanying photograph in this post my latest profile picture.)
Bipedalism came first, then the large brain among the history of primates. The upright stance allowed man to scan the savannah, edges of forest and plains, or wherever he had wandered for food and predators.
I haven’t posted since December 27, 2011, mainly because I have had eye problems (really, only the left eye) since December 25th, Christmas morning, and a “Ho, ho, ho,” Christmas gift I desire to return, but can’t! I woke up that morning with blurred vision caused by a macular hole in my left eye. This last Tuesday, January 10th, I received a vitrectomy at Arlington Day Surgery Center, under the skilled hands of Dr. David Callanan (Dr. Wu administered the pharmacological agents — much appreciated).
I may still be bipedal, but I have assumed the position of a face-down recovery period lasting five days or more so that I neither can scan the savannah nor see the quacking ducks on my pond. I cannot have any hard spirits during my ten-day recovery, but that is not as painful as it may seem to some. I have this nature blog and like to go out into the field, but the only nature I see are house plants, two dogs and trees outside my living room window. I take a new interest in bugs that infrequently cross the floor.
I took a picture with my iPhone immediately after surgery and this is what I look like. I spend most of my days face-down in a specially-designed “chair” and a bedside rest for my face that is like those contraptions in massage parlors for your head as you get your massage. Dr. Callanan predicts a 90-95% recovery of vision in my left eye with another operation for cataracts in about a year (cataracts — Nile River, Egypt).
So, I will not be hiking the grove or taking photos of juniper any time soon. Medical technology and habitat adaptations, however, have come a long way since primates first scanned the savannah. I’m in a safe wikiup, been worked on by medicine men and women, have taken drugs and have nature outside my window. My hearing and tactile senses are sharpened. I listen for the Sandhill Crane that may fly overhead. I brush my canine that barks at strange sounds at the edges of camp. Although I question that human society has progressed, today with the skills brought to bear in my life I think in some areas we have progressed.
(Note: please do not show this photo to your children as it may cause nightmares or sleep unrest. Oh, go ahead, give the little primates a scare and make up a good narrative while you are at it.)
- Scott Beale: PETMAN, A Bipedal Humanoid Robot That Exercises and Sweats (laughingsquid.com)
- Are we the teachable species? (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- ScienceShot: Standing Tall to Beat the Heat? (news.sciencemag.org)